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Proposed IR amendments up for discussion at NTAC meeting

Published: 
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
From left, director of the ILO DWT and Officer for the Caribbean Claudia Coenjaerts, Research, Development and Planning manager, NTA, Dr Patrice Parris-Searles, ILO Skills and Employability specialist Hassan Nadahi and ILO deputy director, Dagmar Walters chat during the ILO Caribbean conference about ILO’s report on the future of training in the Caribbean at Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Two position papers on amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) are expected to be tabled when the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) meets next week.

The confirmation was made yesterday, by Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus.

When the Industrial Relations Amendment Bill, 2015 was laid in the Parliament in May 2015, two trade union bodies protested saying that they were not consulted on the amendments, yet the legislation was tabled for amending in the Parliament.

Baptiste-Primus spoke to the Guardian after a breakfast meeting hosted by the International Labour Organisation's (ILO), titled "Getting ready for the future of work," which was held at the Hyatt hotel, Dock Road, Port-of-Spain.

" I am very pleased to say that Cabinet took a decision to forward the two draft policy position papers on the review of the Industrial Relations Act and the Retrenchment and Severance Act. Cabinet having approved those two position papers have forwarded those two position papers for the engagement of the NTAC."

Asked whether the tripartite process is useful for T&T given that labour had initially dropped out, and then rejoined, Baptiste-Primus said, "There have been some hiccups, as in all relationships, this is a tripartite approach coming out of ILO. Labour is back in the NTAC, and we are fleshing out an agenda and a program. The meeting that was carded for November did not come off, that day there were other issues."

She also assured that she had done all that was required of her to ensure that there was consultation before the two papers were presented to the Cabinet.

Chief executive, Employers Consultative Association (ECA), Joycelyn Francois-Opadeyi said it is very important for NTAC and other stakeholders to come together to have discussions on the way forward for the labour sector in T&T.

She added according to data the she had seen, there were a number of businesses which were closing up and the ECA remained concerned by these statistics.